When you’ve managed with the tailor for a rig-out of a sort
And you find the coat or trousers are an inch or so too short,
Do not fret and swear and worry, make the tailor see you through,
I have been through many new suits, I’m an older man than you.
When your girl is interfering with your appetite and work,
With your sleep and time and reason till the jealous demons lurk;
When your girl is playing with you, leave her for a week or two:
If in vain, then quit for ever! I’m an older man than you.
When your wife deceives or leaves you for a “blackguard”, “brute”, and “sot”,
And when not a soul believes you when you say that you were not;
Do not rave or brood and weaken, and the years will prove you true,
Let your own self be the beacon! I’m an older man than you.
Do not take a silly mistress in your vanity accursed,
And a second wife (or husband) but reminds you of the first;
Banish mutual friends, and pity (kill or cure relations, too),
Shun false “reconciliation”, I’m an older man than you.
Be the cause however worthy, and your case however strong,
Be your wrong however cruel, drink will put you in the wrong.
Drink will neutralize and murder all the good that time can do
(Though our birthdays come together, I’m an older man than you).
But for ever and for ever, over seas and through the lands,
Go the hand laid on the shoulder and the silent grip of hands
With a world of human feeling, men who know and men who knew:
Clear your soul of pessimism, I’m an older man than you.